WR Dazz Newsome, North Carolina (5’11”, 190)

Background:

Did a little bit of everything in high school but was often considered a cornerback recruit. However, was used as a receiver from his true freshman season at North Carolina, starting two of nine games the first year and finishing with 18-227-0 (12.6). Started six games the following year and went 44-506-2 (11.5), then became a full-time starter and enjoyed hsi best year as a junior (72-1,018-10, 14.1). Finished his senior year with a 54-684-6 line (12.7).

Positives:

Well-built receiver with adequate size who predominantly lined up in the slot at the college level. A lot of his patterns were either down the seams or on shorter out routes. Willing to mix things up with physical corners near the line of scrimmage. Showcases impressive speed to eat up cushions and get to the route stem or threaten downfield. Can sink his hips and displays snap at the route stem even when he’s working underneath the defense. Able to work the middle of the field; toughness and concentration to hang onto passes through contact are pluses. Hard-charging, no-nonsense rusher who can pick up yards after contact; the team made a point of getting him the ball with some room to work, and he rewarded them by working his way through would-be tacklers for chunks of yardage on a pretty regular basis. Gives pretty good effort as a stalk blocker, although his positioning, placement, and ability to sustain is just adequate. A dangerous return specialist who demonstrates good vision and agility to break big runs.

Negatives:

A little bit on the small side, so it’s not clear how much of a candidate he’ll be for an outside role in the pros. A good portion of his production was manufactured on screens, hitches, and other short throws, and in any case only posted a eye-popping line in his junior campaign. Route-running tools look pretty good, but tree itself was fairly limited, so he’ll have to expand it further, and during the games reviewed did struggle at times to create separation at the stem with double-moves and head-fakes. Wasn’t as frequently targeted downfield as some of his peers in the slot. A lot of his success comes because of his elusiveness, toughness, and competitiveness; not quite the freakish athlete some of the other slot weapons in the class are. Muffed a punt during one of the games reviewed (Syracuse).

Summary:

This class has several receivers who are predominantly slot-based weapons who teams tried to manufacture touches for; not quite as fast or elusive as some of the other options, but makes up for it with toughness and the ability to break tackles. Should be able to endear himself to teams with his gritty and physical style of play, making him a potential second-day pick in this year’s draft.

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